Friday, 30 May 2014

Lap Quilt (log cabin)

I made this lap quilt for my Aunt.  She was a wonderfully charitable lady and attended many a coffee morning, fair, church jumble sale and many another fund raising event.  She often found bits of material she would bring me.

She kept a special eye out for greens aware of a project I have been fabric collecting and discarding for many a year (more about that later, when at last I get it finished) although none of the bits was ever just what I was after. A lot of the bits I collected for the project weren't in retrospect what I was after either so no reflection on my Aunts eye for fabric, just on my knowing what I wanted. 

Some of the bits my Aunt brought me went into my bits-a-quilts, others still await a suitable home.  (I think I have found a pattern for using up some of the greens, again update later if it happens).

In addition to being a powerhouse for local charities my Aunt was bold with decided opinions and a quirky sense of humour developed over her two interesting careers firstly as a nursery nurse and then as a policewoman. Although she had left both to be a wife and mother by the time I was taking notice of such things.  I chose for her quilt a rather big bold pattern for the middle of the log cabin arrangement and slightly subtler ones for the rest.  The darker pink tones picked up some of the colours in their living room.

Happily she very much liked the resulting combination and her quilt was regularly used for naps in her chair when her health became poor.  I miss her and find it hard to say my Uncle's name without it being in combination with hers, sometimes I forget and the sad fact of her absence hits like it was new. I am glad that she is included in my bits-a-memories and they help me remember the happy things, the smiley moments and the gift that was knowing her.  

Friday, 23 May 2014

A curtain bag

 I was given a bag of scraps, it contained quite a mix of bits, including a curtain sample complete with rings.

The black and white material was quite sturdy so it became this bag.  The curtain rings made an interesting way to attach the handles.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


A little more progress on my designated project for the International Hermitage and Stitching Weekend.


The stocky deer has vanished but I can't decide what has replaced it.

 My mother sees a wizard but no matter the angle I'm not seeing anything much in this shape at all.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Celtic embellishments (quilting) .

For my second multi coloured Bits-A-Quilt I decided to make it a bit longer so as not to get cold toes if I wanted warm ears. The same thing applies to the bits making up this quilt as the last, although there are a few less childhood memories in this one and a lot more quilting projects.  I estimate it took seven years for there to be enough bits to make the top.

If you look carefully you will see a blue circle, it is a fine check material and is the decorative ring of material from the top of a jar of lemon curd I bought at a fair.  A fun addition to my quilt and the curd was nice too.

As the quilt grew to the desired size I wanted to do some Celtic knots and zoamorphs. However I did not want to have the fancy bit on the back, just on the front.  So I firstly did a sandwich with the top wadding and voile to keep the weight down a bit, all those seams adds quite a bit of heft as it is.

It was fun picking the designs and  dotting them around the quilt. You may recognise the dragon knot from my carved box.  I still like it and may well use it again on something else.

Celtic bird

Dragon Celtic knot

Orange fish on white

White fish on orange


tri knot


Celtic Swirl

As with my earlier Bits-a-quilt I love looking at this quilt as it is full of memories with scraps from many a project (you can see the tartan below that was left from the Young Women's quilts, I told you that would make an appearance).  It is a bit like a memory game, what bit came from where. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The original multi Bits-A-Quilt

This is the first quilt I made out of bits.  Not pre-cut, no pattern, just bits.  Bits from my mothers scrap bag, so there are scraps here from dresses she made me and I wore as a child. Bits from the quilts I had made up to that time, bits cut from the legs of trousers that were too long for me.  So all the bits hold memories and some times I amuse myself by trying to remember the origin of each.

I did not wait to have enough fabric to make the whole quilt top before I started sewing.  Each time I had the sewing machine out for a project I would check the bag of bits, see if any fitted together and sew them.  Each time I had a piece left from a project or from clothing alteration I put it in the bag.  Slowly over years it grew till it was big enough for a backing. Bits left over, well they stayed in the bag and became the starting point for the next quilt of bits. 

The green fabric for the backing and the boarder I bought in a discount shop that sold what ever they had found cheap and could sell for a reasonable profit, from door mats to toilet brushes and fabric. It has been a good find and hard wearing.

I finished it in 1997 having quilted in the furrow (mainly) randomly round the blocks.  I find that I remember things I was watching on TV whilst I was working on a particular project.  That is not a hard stretch of the memory for the quilting on this project.  I was watching the procession to her final resting place from the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales.  I did not sew during the actual service as that would have felt disrespectful.
This is a picture of the quilt I took after it was finished...or perhaps that should be after it was started!

Bits-A-Quilt start

I say started because the fabric is all ages and all weights and the quilt has been in use most days since the boarder went on.  So seams have pulled apart or fabric has worn out.  Each time that has happened I have fixed it.  Adding new patches over the worn spots and covering the weak seams.

So I guess this quilt is not so much finished as it is ongoing, perhaps at some point the original quilt top will be totally covered in fixings.  I quite like that idea even if it is covering up old memories with new ones.  So far there are over twenty new pieces on this quilt and it is still getting used on a daily basis.

This is how it currently looks (hooray for digital cameras) who knows how it will look in a few more years time.  

Bits-A-Quilt current
If I am still bloging I guess we will find out.

Monday, 5 May 2014

IHSW progress

 This is my progress on my chosen project for the IHSW (at least) and any other times I can add to it.

Does it look a bit like a stocky deer to you?  Looks a bit like one to me at this stage.

Guardian Angel , quilt from cross stitch

My friend, for whom I made the dragon gate embroidery (blog entry "Any one with ability.." 13.01.2014) came home from his mission in America, went to University, met a wonderful lady and got married.  I don't appear to have taken a picture of the embroidery I did for their wedding for some reason. 

My friends wife to my delight was also a cross stitcher, a hobby she already shared with her mother (hence an embroidery for the wedding not a cross stitch). So when they shared the happy news of an expected expansion to their family I wondered what to do.  A birth announcement/ sampler would be my normal reaction but in this instance with two cross stitchers already in the family I thought it would not be appropriate.

On a visit with them I was shown the pattern for the cross stitch project she had chosen for the nursery. A Lavender and Lace design titled Guardian Angel.  I said oh I could make a version of that for you, not do her project as was, oh no make a quilt to go with it.  That offer was accepted and a copy was made of the main lines of the image directly from the pattern.  The Lavender and Lace Patterns are of a size big enough to be used directly without any enlargement being required.  

As the gender of the baby was not yet known, the angel image feminine enough for a girl I started looking for blue, a sky effect I thought and a nod to convention if the baby was a boy.

A discount shop which sold material, often seconds of some sort had a roll of marbled blue shot with gold.  I asked for the amount I would need for front and back and the assistant happily rolled it out then paused as the material had a huge printing fault in the middle.  The blue dye had not taken and there was a large area of white (still shot with gold) down the middle of the material.  She apologised that they had no more of the blue and was surprised when I said with some enthusiasm that I wanted the material with the fault.  It could not have been better had I had it especially dyed for the project, now I had a cloud of light in the middle of the sky into which the angel would sit.  

There were other shades of the gold shot which echoed the colours of the original design so I added them to my purchase and set to.

I had earlier made my friend an appliquéd version of the dragon gate (no picture available for that either, pre digital age) and learned a few lessons there.  So every exposed edge was first lightly hemmed, then sewn to the quilt and then satin stitched with embroidery thread / floss.  Some sections were a bit harder than others to get the needle through (lots of layers)  but it came together. Oh and to give it a bit extra impact I padded it and quilted some sections, like the wings.

I had not finished it before the baby arrived, I had the back and quilting still to do.  With the baby's name to hand I included her initials on the back.  This changed the quilt from a nursery quilt to her quilt, later I was to understand that in my mind that decision was more than just for that quilt and an unspoken commitment that would last many more years and stitches into the future.

Back of quilt.

So here she is Guardian Angel, I took these pictures on my old camera so sadly they are not great, I sew a lot better I think than take pictures.  The recipient is herself now at University, were does the time go? Sewn into quilts I guess.

Guardian Angel

How the white fault looked